Chicago’s premiere three piece instrumental heavy rock band, Russian Circles treated Philly fans to an intimate performance with their intricate musical movements infusing an endless labyrinth of guitar-effect-soundscapes to captivate open minds. These ambient segments segue and sit on top of dense and driving drum foundations executed with sustaining emotion and precision that peaks into explosions of heavy riffing and metal-infused bursts. The freezing November rain did not put a damper on an evening punctuated by three poignant live sets at Philly’s First Unitarian Church, rounded out by San Fransisco’s Deafheaven and Philadelphia’s Rosetta.
Russian Circles are currently touring in support of their fourth studio album, Empros, which was released on Oct 25th via the Sargent House label to a warm reception from from fans and critics alike. Russian Circles feature ex-Botch/These Arms Are Snakes bass player Brian Cook who was in prime form during Wednesday night’s performance along with longtime members, drummer Dave Turncrantz and guitarist Mike Sullivan. Always able to command the mood of an audience with aural and visual ambiance- a series of tube lights were controlled by a small stomp-pad next to Turncrantz‘s high-hat pedal for perfectly timed transitions of projecting walls of sound and light.
Deafheaven followed up their buzz-worthy 2010 demo and subsequent 7″ record on Deathwishinc with the recently released Roads to Juhda LP, which the band is currently supporting on tour. Featuring four blistering tracks that throw together an almagamation of influences spanning from black metal to atmospheric drone and shoegaze, this band is a definate up-and-comer to keep an eye on as we head into 2012. We recently caught up with Deafheaven singer George Clarke for an interview in days leading up to this current run. Wednesday’s performnace found the band on top of their game depsite having their tour van bite the dust earlier that morning on the drive to Philly. But before pawning off the scraps from their recently deceased vehicle and upgrading to a new set of wheels, Deafheaven left Philly fans stunned to the quick with an impassioned performance.
Rosetta rounded out the bill with an opening performance that quickly captured the audience and sustained their attention through long ambient movements that would slow build towards a zenith of rock and heavy, thundering-metal elements. Aptly described as “metal for astronauts,” this band shifts from melodic meanderings of spacey guitar delays to driving screaming segments with the density of Neurosis. Rosetta are currently supporting their most release Split EP with Junius, which hit streets via Translation Loss Records earlier this year.
We know you are here for the pictures, so without further ado..
Words and pictures by Joshua T. Cohen